Air Transport World

A civil attitude: after 8 years and 4 airings, Dubai's biennial International Aerospace Exhibition is shedding its image as a Middle East weapons bazaar. (Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 1995; includes related articles on the 1996 Farnborough air show and expansions by DHL Worldwide Express and Dubai International Airport)

After 8 years and 4 airings, Dubai's biennial International Aerospace Exhibition is shedding its image as a Middle East weapons bazaar

DUBAI--With a record 500 exhibitors from 34 countries promoting civil aviation as heavily as military aerospace, the 1995 International Aerospace Exhibition finally began to change its image from an arms market to a well-balanced civil/military exhibition, reflecting both an upsurge of interest in civil aviation and a slight shift of emphasis from war.

The show's organizers reported a 20% increase in exhibitors and put the civil/military mix at about 50-50, although that was difficult to define as most of the major exhibitors showed a mix of civil and military equipment.

The increase in airline activity in what Airbus Industrie calls the Arabic Middle East market is reflected by a projected need for 910 new aircraft in the 100-seat-plus category through 2014, according to the European consortium. Airbus Industrie defines the Arabic Middle East as all of the countries in the region plus Iran and North Africa, but excluding Israel.

The split between widebodies and narrowbodies should be about even, including 340 replacement and 570 new aircraft, representing a 150% growth in aircraft to meet a projected 5.9% growth per year in passengers. That compares with a projected worldwide annual passenger growth of 5.1%, according to Airbus. The European consortium noted that the airline industry as a whole has changed in the Middle East over the past few years. Whereas, the area once served primarily as a stopover point between Europe and Asia, it has become a major airline center on its own.

Both Gulf Air and Emirates have become major players in the international arena, and Saudia is undergoing a major image refurbishment from that of a national carrier that serves a very small segment of the market.

Boeing said the Middle East airline market, which excludes North Africa for its analysis, will need $31 billion worth of airliners by 2014. Of that amount, the carriers will spend $5.8 billion between now and 2000, an additional $5.4 billion between 2000 and 2005, followed by a surge of orders worth around$20 billion between 2005 and 2014.

Boeing's forecast includes countries with which U.S. companies are prohibited from trading, although a successful peace process could change the picture, including all forecast figures, a spokesman said.

Overall, Boeing predicted a quadrupling of the worldwide market over the next 30 years, increasing to around 6 trillion RPMs annually by 2025. …

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